By Mary Fox
Food, fun and friendship is served up in abundance at noon on the second Wednesday of each month when the Great Valley, Killbuck, Salamanca, Humphrey, Ellicottville and Mansfield Senior Citizens Group meets at the Great Valley Firemen’s Clubhouse. Eligibility for membership is to live in one of the five towns and be age 60 or over.
And it’s not just a meet and eat afternoon. It’s a time to catch up with friends, have some laughs and enjoy an activity such as physical exercises, crafts, local entertainers, speakers, information on services available to seniors (there are lots of them), and educational and art programs, all of which fill a social, physical, emotional or intellectual need.
Speaking of needs, no meeting is complete without a potluck lunch. There is plenty of good food and it’s always “senior cook” good. There is no cost to individuals to participate in the program. The group is financed by the individual towns according to the number of members belonging from that town.
A small “due” of $10, however, is collected from members each year to cover the cost of a catered meal sometime during the year.
“When a member is 90, the dues is waived and when 100, Lyn Weishan slyly suggested, the club gives $10 back,” said Yvonne Darts, the current director of the Great Valley, Salamanca, Humphrey, Ellicottville and Mansfield Senior Citizens Group.
Besides the social opportunities of the group, the biggest draw are trips that are offered four times a year. For only $15, members may enjoy a day out including, transportation, lunch and entertainment. The remainder of the cost is picked up from money budgeted by each town and paid according to the number participating from that town.
The group has recently adopted the POW membership program, which makes it possible for handicapped adult children to go on trips with their parent(s).
“Buses hold 52 people,” said Barb Lavtar who, with Barb Sergel, organizes the bus trips. “Members need to get their reservation in as soon as possible because there is always a full bus.”
All agree with Ed Brown from Great Valley who enjoys “getting away four times a year.” He also enjoys meeting people.
“Sometimes I meet people I haven’t seen since I was in school,” he said.
The forerunner of the present Senior Group was the Great Valley Districts 1 and 2 (Killbuck), and Salamanca Senior Citizens League, which was organized September 27, 1978. A few years ago, Humphrey was added to the group and recently Ellicottville and Mansfield, bringing membership up to over 100 members. The group is now known as the Great Valley Senior Group, although it is important to remember it includes Salamanca, Humphrey, Ellicottville and Mansfield.
“About 40-55 people attend each month. There is a good crowd from each town, with Great Valley having the largest share,” said Darts. “New members are always welcome.”
Call Yvonne Darts at (716) 945-3279 or 207-4874 for information about joining.